Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: External Holding Tanks for Extended Boon Docking
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adamis

Northern California

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Posted: 05/14/21 03:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As mentioned in another post, we purchased some land that will be used for the next few years as a parking spot for an as yet to be purchased 5th wheel. There is power and water close by but not on the lot itself and money to bring them in won't be available for a while. There is no septic or sewer system at all.

We may come and visit the property from time to time and use the trailer for about a week at a time before we develop the land. During this time, we are considering on finding a caretaker to keep an eye on things and do some maintenance for us. In exchange for the work, they would be allowed to park and live in their own trailer on the land.

All that to say, I'm contemplating purchasing some large tanks to store both fresh water and black water and then contracting with a pump out service as needed. Thinking of maybe a 500gal or 1000gal tanks that could be placed under the trailer so they are out of the way and protected.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of setup? Are there any suggested tanks that work better than others? Any issues with a pump-out service?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


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jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 05/14/21 03:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Water tanks are fairly expensive unless you are talking about an IBC tote or similar to just set on the ground. If you bought larger tanks and assuming it is legal, you could possibly create a water harvesting system and forego a well. Similarly, you could build a solar system to be used as either your primary power system or as a backup.

I’d talk to a pump out service to see what that will cost and a tank compared to getting a septic system installed. Random chemicals etc aren’t very good for a septic system also water proportion is important, so maybe a septic system is not practical assuming you would use typical RV chemicals.

I would have considered a lot more property when I bought mine if I had known how easy it really is to be offgrid.


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thomas201

Eastern Panhandle WV

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Posted: 05/14/21 04:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Call the county health department. In WV the county I talked to said only portable tanks were legal for long term use. A non-portable tank was only legal for 90 days, and you had to be making progress on a septic system.

In Oregon I stayed at a campground that had a repurposed oil field frac tank for the poo poo. They pumped it as needed. An employee told me they had similar rules, as long as the tank is portable it was OK. Now this tank was a standard 500 barrel (20,000 gallon), but you could drain it, and pick it up with a winch tractor. Get the rules before you buy.

These rules are crazy, yes?

Lwiddis

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Posted: 05/14/21 05:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No permits needed IMO. Just do it!


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 05/14/21 05:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your caretaker can fend for themself if injured. You won’t be responsible IMO.

Bedlam

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Posted: 05/14/21 07:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My property has utilities but enclosed trailer carries a 30 gallon waste tote and two 42 gallon fresh tanks for extended boon docking.


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Kayteg1

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Posted: 05/14/21 10:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think when you calculate all factors - building septic system now will save you lot of money and lot of aggravation on long run.
Assuming county codes will allow it.
For fresh water storage, there was a food company in San Francisco selling clean barrels for about $25





adamis

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Posted: 05/15/21 08:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just a bit of additional info... The estimated price of a septic system in this area can run between $30k and $50k when all is said and done. Part of the reason for the high cost is we are looking at building a large primary house and then a shop with a secondary living area so the septic will need to be sized quite large. That type of coin just isn't in the cards currently plus we couldn't even start until we have a full site plan figured out and that is going to take a couple of years.

I'm thinking of something more like this. That would give me enough capacity for a week at a time and it could fit right under the trailer making it easy to use. I will just transfer the waste to this when the trailer tanks get full and then when this is full, have a pump out company come and service it. Grey water I will probably just let water some trees nearby an make sure we use appropriate biodegradable soaps and such.

For fresh water we would get a similar tank approved for fresh water. There is possibly a spring on the property (have to confirm) so we might be able to refill from the spring. If that isn't possible, we will have to look at a water delivery service.

I'm looking at spending maybe $1k to $3k to get going. This setup is intended to be temporary, 3 to 5 years tops with us using the trailer maybe for 1 to 2 weeks each of those years.

Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 05/15/21 08:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is typical "Pay me high now, or pay me more later" situation.
Unless you protect the black tank from UV, you can expect about 3 years before it will deteriorate. Ask manufacturer about warranty.
I would not count on spring water. Not likely you will be able to storage it as it will grow algae, when the creek likely is protected.
If barrels don't work for you for fresh water, farming industry offers lot of different water tanks. They might not be drinking water rated, but I would not drink water who sit for weeks in tank anyway.
You put the tank on a hill, or elevated by construction - you'll have gravity feed, what will save you battery power for pumping.
Good luck on the project.

thomas201

Eastern Panhandle WV

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Posted: 05/15/21 09:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A second idea. Use the net and call a local honey dipper (septic pump out company). He/she will know the rules, and might rent you a tank cheaper than buying. Also, this will give you the cost for pumping out. Might make septic more reasonable. They also might give you a better idea. Poo is their business.

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